Job’s dairy – from 1920 to 1987

The dairy opened in 1920 with its own pasteurizing and bottling plant, as part of a planned expansion by HA Jobs Ltd.

Job’s had quite humble beginnings, as when a young Edward Roberts came to Teddington in 1874 with his wife Louisa he brought Kirby’s Dairy. At the time dairies would keep their own cows, supplying milk and dairy produce to their local communities. The coming of the railways changed all of that, as did the work of Louis Pasteur who discovered in the 1850’s that boiling milk killed certain bacteria and enabled it to be kept longer and made it safer to drink. He gave his name to the process called pasteurization. Milk was transported by the railways to the enlarged towns and needed to be sold quickly, so trains traveled at express speeds. The churns traveled in ventilated carriages to keep them cool.

It was not until 1895 that the first pasteurizing machine was built in the USA and pasteurized milk for the masses started to become a reality. The dairy industry here in the UK was slow to adopt this new technology.

Life for the Roberts family took a turn for the worse when Edward Roberts died in 1896 and Louisa sold the dairy in 1899 and there the story might will have ended. Around 1900 she married an H.A. Jobs, an ex-employee of hers and brought back the business giving it her new husband’s name, which appears to be his only contribution to the business.

In 1908, she moved the cows from her Teddington dairy to a farm in Twickenham and in 1912 purchased a pasteurizing machine, which was quite progressive at the time. Her son Henry Alfred Roberts joined the business and brought it from his mother in 1919. He oversaw a rapid expansion of the business, which by the time of his death in 1959 had processing plant at Hanworth and Didcot, with dairies and yards at Ealing Hampton, Sunbury, Tolworth, Southall,Hanworth, Ashford, Hounslow, Slough, Tadley, Shinfield, Woodley Tilehurst.

From 1928 the company set up its own laboratory, which was innovative and set about improving the hygiene at farms that supplied them milk. At the time they were buying 2000 gallons of milk a day from 42 farms. Within three years this had increased to 3000 gallons.

The opening of the new processing plant at Hanworth in 1930 meant that pasteurizing and bottling was carried out centrally and stopped at the branches. Bottling of milk was introduced in the 1920’s as prior to this milk was dispensed to the householder from a churn on a handcart into their own jugs.

In the 1930s the railways started to use milk tanker wagons and it is presumed that road tankers were introduced at this time and certainly Job’s used the later, but the humble milk churn did manage to survive until 1978.

The dairy remained in the Roberts family until they sold it in 1987 to Unigate, who in turn sold out their dairy business to Dairy Crest in July 2000. At the moment the date of closure of the Leighton Road site has eluded investigation, although it was open at the time of the sale to Unigate. Currently Dairy Crest now service the Ealing area from their depot at Hanworth (Job’s processing plant’s location).

The main source of information was www,jobsdairy.co.uk which is well worth a visit.

David Shailes